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Sep 28, 2012, 12:57 PM

Post #326 of 329 (9548 views)
Statement of Purpose -- Style Can't Post

I have read the SOPs posted here by successful applicants (thank you!). Since I am thinking of structuring my SOP a bit differently, I was hoping I could get people's thoughts on if they think this will be a problem or if it's fine.

So, here's the story: I have a strong vision for the novel I want to complete during a MFA program. I have been working/developing the idea for a few years now, and now I just want the space/support/opportunity to finish it. I want to do a MFA because while my foundation of ideas is strong, I need to keep working on the craft and work of actually capturing in narrative form what I have envisioned.

Anyway, because I have already spent a lot of time thinking about/researching on this novel, I have a lot to say about what I want it to be. In my SOP, I am giving a sense of what the novel is about; how it's similar to and different from other literature in that vein; and the larger ideas that I am seeking to capture and/or think about in the story. I have about 2-3 paragraphs just on that; I think they reveal not only a story about the novel but also what interests me as a writer.

What do you guys think? I don't want to come across as inflexible to programs because I already know what I want to do. And I do make it clear in my SOP that I want to think about other projects that I can work on in the future, not just this one; and I want to experiment with other techniques and learn new ways of doing things, because that's where my weakness is. But I am hell-bent on this project so it seems silly to not mention it.

Buy this book!

Sep 28, 2012, 3:03 PM

Post #327 of 329 (9544 views)
Re: [kvly] Statement of Purpose -- Style Can't Post

While it's a good idea to talk about the novel you plan to write in the program, I think you should also talk about how the program can help you write it, and how the program can help you grow. If all you're looking for is two years to write, why do you need the program and why does the program need you?

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Sep 28, 2012, 3:14 PM

Post #328 of 329 (9543 views)
Re: [pongo] Statement of Purpose -- Style Can't Post

Thank you so much. You are so right and I really needed to hear that. I will still talk about the novel, because I do want them to know my interests, but I need to do a better job of articulating why a MFA program is what I need right now. I really do think a MFA program is going to help me a lot because while I have concrete ideas I need help on what to do with them/how to make them into something, and I'd hate for that to get lost in my discussion of the novel. Thanks again!

bligh macdonald

Jan 18, 2013, 1:56 PM

Post #329 of 329 (9210 views)
Re: [kvly] Statement of Purpose -- Style Can't Post

When writing the statement of purpose, autobiographical statement, and all related statements, I found myself fighting hard against the impulse to write:

Look, I sent you a manuscript, and I paid you good money to read it. All the information you require is in there; it tells you who I am, what I'm doing, and what I aim to achieve, and if it doesn't, I have no place at your program anyway. If I wanted to explicate things, I'd be a PhD candidate. The End.

Did anyone else have an urge to write something like that? For the record, I'd probably have followed it with an apology for my strident tone and chocked it up to application-related exasperation. I'd plead that I'm usually a likable person, and people love workshopping with me; Bob's your uncle, and the thing would end up being 500 anyway.

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